Promising both luxury and power, the new BMW X6 will make you the undisputed king of the road, says Matt Blackwell
This was my first test drive for Y Magazine and in all honesty, I have been spoiled. After having spent a day with the new BMW X6, it will be hard to accept anything less than the best in future.
The X6 is a mid-size luxury crossover, which means it combines both the high-ground clearance and all weather ability of an SUV, with the stance of a coupé. With the characteristic BMW sweeping contours and sloping roof, boy does it deliver on both counts.
As I opened the door and took my place in the driving seat, the first thing that hit me was the smell. If luxury had a scent, I’m pretty sure this would be it. There was enough leather upholstery in this car to put a furniture shop to shame; it simply exuded elegance.
The second thing that struck me was the sheer number of dials, knobs, switches and buttons that lay before me; I didn’t know where to begin. Luckily, I am fairly tech savvy and despite the choice, it was all fairly straightforward. Within five minutes I had my phone synced, giving me access to my contacts and text messages, and had music playing through my iPod. I was ready to take to the road.
My test drive took place last weekend as strong dusty winds battered Muscat, but thanks to the wide stance of the X6, which gave it a sturdy feel, I went about my business almost oblivious to the adverse weather conditions.
Comfort is one thing the X6 does very well. The seats alone had dizzying scope for customisation, with the ability to extend the support under the thighs and alter the extent to which they hug your torso in addition to the usual forwards, backwards and posture position. My only slight gripe was that I couldn’t seem to lower the seat, meaning that the rear-view mirror took up an awkward position, blocking some of my view of the road.
Comfort is all very well and good, but most importantly, how was the drive? Well, I can report that the X6 also excelled in this area.
Switch from Comfort to Sport mode, drop a gear or two using the paddles behind the steering wheel and you will be pushed back in your seat as the X6 rockets forward. It can be quite a task keeping to the speed limit as you simply don’t realise how fast you’re going, such is the tranquility of the atmosphere within the cabin, even when travelling at speed.
BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system cleverly adapts to even the most challenging road surface conditions, ensuring the driver is always given the most traction possible. I had no complaints from a handling point of view either, with the X6 hugging the road even when negotiating sharp bends.
The X6 is a big car and I was gifted with a superior position, high above the other drivers on Muscat’s roads, but it never felt ungainly; it is an incredibly easy vehicle to manoeuvre.
When I put the X6 in reverse for the first time, I got a pleasant surprise. In addition to the now standard reversing camera, the X6 offers Surround View. This incredibly clever system gives you a bird’s-eye view of the car through a 360-degree camera system, with the obstacles around you and the car’s movement tracked in real time on the colour display on the dashboard. If you still find parking too much of a chore, you can always engage the latest generation Parking Assistant.
The X6 is spacious, with easily enough room for three in the back and a sizeable luggage capacity to boot. Moreover, the rear-seat entertainment system offers the best possible entertainment options for passengers via two separate HD colour displays.
As my day with the X6 came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness when I handed the keys back.
I was left wanting more, which I believe any car manufacturer would view as a job well done in terms of design and drive quality.
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